Thursday, 5 November 2015

Biding Time

No matter which choices I make, when it comes to climbing they often seem to be the wrong ones.

Being a lonely misanthrope I decided that my wedding in mid-September would mark the transition into the bouldering season.  In past years October has brought periods of great cold and dry conditions. Last year I was away in Australia getting pumped on sweaty trad routes and missed all the happy social scenes in Torridon, so this year I decided I'd start preparations early so I could be steely fingered as soon as the weather changed. Of course, what actually happened was we had the warmest October for years and all the sensible people have been climbing routes while I've been greasing off my projects.  Still, its been fun getting back into the swing of things.

I barely tried my arch-nemesis Malc's Arete last year so I'm engaging it once more with renewed vigour.  This must be at least the 6th season of trying, which smacks of desperation, but the old minx keeps teasing me. The one time I've been there in OK conditions this year I had some pretty good goes with a slightly different sequence than in the past, leading me on to hope that there might be a way to do THE MOVE keeping a foot on, rather than an all out jump.  Watch this space (again).

In the interim, I'm still amazed at the number of problems in Torridon that Rich and co. have done in recent years that I've still not done.  One of the benefits of being a punter is that you have to project everything, which eeks out the joy.  On the last couple of visits two great problems in the 6B-6C range have really stood out and deserve more acclaim.

A few years ago I remember sniffing around a boulder to the west of Torridon village when I was doing some survey work in the glen. I never got round to climbing on it but Rich did the obvious arete a year or so after and gave it one of my favourite names around: Sticky Damph. Conditions were suitably warm and damp when I did it.

Sticky Damph

Even more years ago I remember pointing out a cool looking highball wall in a bay hidden behind some lovely old birch trees on the level up from the main jumble.  As per usual, Rich did the obvious problem quickly and called it Bay Crack. I didn't doit and then forgot all about it.  Last year Rich did a harder sit start into the original and gave it another quality name: 50 Days of Grey.  Reminded by this, I went back and did the easier original last week.  The highball rounded top-out felt a bit committing on my tod, but at least our new addition was there to spot me.

The day we found Bay Crack (photo: Murdoch Jamieson)

On that note, I finished the last blog entry with a cliff hanger about road-testing a dog.  We took the plunge and are now busy teaching her the dark arts of spotting, as displayed here:

Photo: Anne Falconer

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